By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The Citizen’s Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) has revealed that despite having remained with few days to the polling day, the biggest percentage of voters in Uganda lack knowledge about contestants and how to vote them something that may hike a number of invalid and spoilt votes in the forthcoming general elections.
Boosting awareness about January 2021 elections among Makerere University students, the Executive Director CCEDU Ms.Charity Ahimbisibwe noted that they have just completed a baseline assessment of voter education in the Eastern Region in the districts of Jinja, Iganga, Kamuli, Bugembe, Idudi, Namutumba, Tirinyi, Kadama, Budaka, Mbale and Soroti and established that there is hardly any voter information reaching the voters.
She revealed that in these regions, some voters were uncertain about the voting dates for the various political offices whereas some sections of the electorate particularly the illiterate in Mayuge, Iganga, Idudi and Budaka, Bugembe district only knew of four of the 11 presidential candidates.
“In all the places we visited the citizens did not know about the special interest Group elections and the dates on which the MPS for Elders, Youth, workers, Army will be elected. In all the areas covered the voters did not even know when the election of councillors would take place,” Charity said.
She added that most of the voters in the areas assessed do not understand the electoral college system and how it is set up. Electoral colleges are the people who are selected to elect a candidate to a particular office. Often these represent different organisations, political parties, or entities. Each is represented by a particular number of electors or votes weighted by the Electoral Commission.
It’s worth noting that the Constitution in articles 1 and 59 guarantees rights for a voter to attain information and participate in electoral processes. This right to access information is supposed to be guaranteed by the Electoral Commission in Article 61, which mandates the EC to educate voters and come up with a voter’s programme that ensures dissemination of information.
In the same vein, Charity said that having been accredited to carry out voter education, CCEDU in collaboration with its partner NICE-U, supported by UN-WOMEN has decided to popularise its innovated campaign Mulembe Gwa Digital, Beera Mu Class in the three universities of GULU, Makerere and Mukono plus their surrounding communities all aimed to increase awareness about scientific elections.
“CCEDU in partnership with the Electoral Commission and UN Women through this voter mobilisation campaign aim to advocate for and promote integrity, transparency and increase the civic duty of Ugandans in electoral processes,” Charity highlighted.
CCEDU’s vision is an Uganda in which the principles and practices of electoral democracy are respected and upheld. Guided by the principles of transparency; accountability of electoral systems; respect for human and civic rights; tolerance; gender equity and equal opportunity; non-partisan citizen participation, CCEDU will continue to put out voter education messages on radio, through the phones, give out fliers in communities and educate the voter on how to participate in the election.